Egypt signs $336 million deal with Japan to fund health insurance system

Habiba Hamdy , Tuesday 28 Mar 2023

Egypt signed on Tuesday a development financing agreement worth 44 billion yen ($336 million) with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to support the country's Universal Health Insurance System (UHIS).

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Minister of Finance and Head of the General Authority for the Universal Health Insurance System (UHIS) Mohamed Maait (right) and Egyptian officials with a delegation of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

 

The signing ceremony was attended by the Egyptian Minister of Finance and Head of the General Authority for the UHIS Mohamed Maait and the Head of the JICA office in Egypt Kato Ken.

“The agreement aims to enhance the efforts of comprehensive health coverage in Egypt and help complete the UHIS' objectives in the next seven years, according to pre-set timetables,” Maait said in a statement.

The UHIS covers more than 3,000 diverse health services ranging from surgical interventions, medical analyses, radiology scans, tumour treatments, organ transplantations and prosthetic devices by the latest advancements in the medical field.

The six-phase healthcare scheme started experimentally in Port Said in early 2018 and later expanded to Luxor and Ismailia. The lowest-income citizens were given priority in the programme’s schedule. Plans to expand the scheme to the Suez, Aswan and South Sinai governorates by the end of the current fiscal year 2022/2023 were also announced.

Millions of citizens in these three governorates have already registered in the UHIS. The capital, Cairo, is relegated to the final phase.

Maait said, "We [Egypt] are keen to learn from the Japanese experience in all fields, especially the healthcare sector." The delegation of JICA praised Egypt's efforts in expanding the umbrella of its health insurance and asserted their willingness to provide all the support and Japanese expertise in developing this sector.

This is not Egypt's first collaboration with the JICA. In October 2021, JICA, along with the World Bank, French Development Agency and World Health Organisation, announced they would provide Egypt with a facility worth $1 billion to finance the country’s UHIS. In the field of transportation, JICA approved a $301 million loan to Egypt for developing the country's fourth metro line in December 2022.

 

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